« FöregåendeFortsätt »
an ancient, withered, and wrinkled visage, gifted with and strong as a piece of oak in appearance ; I could, a determined book-nose, most suspicious eyes, and thin however, consolingly say, "Who knows what may haplips, compressed as though they were holding in impor- pen? Perhaps so.” tant secrets, and feared to let an admission escape them, Inspirited by this hope within him springing, Consiappeared. Seeing the coast clear, but still keeping her dine promised to accompany me to the “ pattern” of eyes fixed alternately on the Inhabitant and his slave, Menlo, on the morrow, being the first of May. “Yet,” she favoured us with a full view of her stout but brief he said, dissuadingly, “why not come down here, person. She looked slightly startled at having been de- and have a magnificent read ? We would unearth the tected at the key-hole, but it produced no shame, it old theories —we would chase the thoughts of nations odly rendered her doubly wary; it was not out of curi- npon these noble subjects. We would,” he added, enosity, but through precaution, that she had looked. thusiastically, "find the most glorious excitement in
“Elizabetha," said my friend,“ will you give"- beholding error falling away, and truth advancing
“I won't, I won't, I won't,” said she, very rapidly, truths discovered, and a succeeding generation looking and shaking her head indigeantly, “I won't and I shan't, upon it as old-fashioned error, and a succeeding one and go 'long with you. Iss, faith, iss, before a wit- doing justice to it. 0, what a mine of mines ! What ness, that's your look out; but I won't.
precious metals ! What quaint imaginings! Yet, I am climb the air, and plough the rocky hills, but I won't.” not sorry to give welcome to the May. No one can en“Give us the tea, will you, and be quiet.”
joy it like us—we who are 'book-worms.' But not so, “ Iss, inagh, 'tis only the tay now, is it, och, maurya rather are we bees. For, whereas, the book-worm, she said, incre lulously, but arranged the tea-things, properly so called at college, merely reads his own branch, carefully keeping at the opposite side of the table from We enter many treasuries. So the so-called “wild ones' my friend, and backing out when all was done. Then, are but book-worms after all. They have only time to full of curiosiiy, I asked
read what they're to be examined in, and that not well. Why Considine, what's the matter ?
See them half a night in the billiard-room, drinking seeking to extract a promise of marriage from that old brain-dulling beer, or wrathfal whiskey ; then, again,
charming damsel, before witnesses ? needing strong, stimulating sports. They can't enjoy the Has she proved inconstant and left you here to rue ? country, if they slaughter not its dwellers, returning dilaIs this the secret of your living in this ancient tene- pidated and draggle-tailed to a mechanical and steamment? Discovereil at last, my lad !"
pressure • cram. Think-they have no time to think or “Merriment becomes youth no doubt, but I,”—he was enjoy their studies." about twenty-five--"I have graver thought. You ob- “ Have you studied the medical works in Irish at served that sagacious but fearfully circumspect old all ?" dame ? She has a complication of heart-diseases, in. “I have not, nor Irish itself. The works are not cluding one of the most rare and strange. How did I procurable, so I won't study the language. They are get to know it? You may well ask. But the fact is, very curious, I understand. But 'tis late, goud night, she is a tradition among us. Two generations of stu- and be on the Wood-quay early.” dents have left since it was first discovered ; I form a On the Wood-quay faithfully we met, although "early" member of the third. She had been brought to the hos- turned out to mean eleven o'clock. Boats were there pital several years ago, for bronchitis, and this was then in plenty. All was gala. Streamers of green and white, found out. Whether she knew it before, I can't say; and all gay colours, fluttered from slender masts, moving if she did, she was singularly uncommunicative, and had in varying lines up the pleasant, wide-bosomed Corrib. no love for science. She told none, and sought to evade, The air was alive with merry laughter, jest, and jibe. without leaving a knowledge of whereabouts she dwelt. Joy was the order of the day, mishaps but raising a But, O'Linski, a student with a serpent's wisdom, merrier laugh. Between the green shores, past old square tracked her, and took these rooms, which she serves. towers, that stood lonely as herons upon the banks we He was under the firm and fond impression that she sailed, tacked, and rowed, till Menlo Castle appeared, must shortly die, and hoped to allore her into leaving amid the spacious landscape, before us; near it the ivied hiin her body. But she didn't. He bad to part, and ruins of an old abbey, close beside the river, and just to a junior, his confidential friend, he left her as a legacy. where the river ceases to be, and the wide waters of He, Costello, with the ardour of youth, read up all works Lough Corrib bound the horizen before us. upon the heart, in the expectation of obtaining her's at Philosophic sedateness barely maintained its reign last. But he, also, had to go, and I am bis legatee. upon Considine's handsome face, as we strolled from the For which I am wholly grateful, and have taken my pre- shore, past the castle into the woods. There, in glades, cautions. You see that heap of papers ? Good. They were groups of snowy tents; and under some noble trees form the essay, which will obtain for me European re. the musical tones of the soft Irish pipes and pleasant nown-every thing is there, commencement, history, fiddle were heard ; and wherever they went forth, pumand peroration. All it wants is the kernel, and Eliza- rous dancers surrounded them. More numerous were betha will afford that. She is breaking fast; she'll go the on-lookers, watching with respect and an admiration before my departure; don't you think so ?”
not unmixed with envy, the agile performers of the jigs, I could not answer in the affirmative; she was stout whose serious but happy countenances betakened the
importance of the occupation. After a time, and after a dance or two, we turned from the ever-moving crowd, and entered a tent. There we met a table of friends, who immediately voted Considine to the chair, and nobly be filled it. Many were the jovial songs and toasts, till the chairman, casting his eyes along the table, found that all glasses were empty, and no replenishing appeared in the bottles, so the spirit of philosophy fell upon him, and, quelling the tumult with a knock, he enunciated the solemn phrase :
“Let us moralise !"
Now, this was, no doubt, good as an abstract idea, but not very likely to be adopted. And, unfortunately for the chairman's own adoption of it, a wandering and bewildered dog rushed against his legs. Now, from what cause I never could find out, but the fact stood, that he had an intense horror of the canine race. So, the moment he felt the touch, his frame thrilled with a sudden exasperation, and seizing the poor animal by the back, he flung it high into the upper regions of the tent. There it made two or three vagne gyrations, aud came down into the open hood of a young girl's cloak. She, horrified at theload on her shoulders, shrieked aloud, and there was sudden tumult and confusion, for no Irishman could suffer a woman to be insulted without re. venge. Wbilst a sharp rat-tat told that the shilelagh was at play between some of the students and the peasantry, Considine dashed to the girl's side, and made the most eloquent apologies. She looked a moment bewildered, for she did not understand a word of English, and then, very good-humourel and smiling, as she comprehended his gestures, and listened to the whisper of a very handsome girl beside her. The whisperer was evidently of a higher class, probably a well-to-do farmer's daughter, the other her servant. Her countenance was such as one seldom meets, being of surpassing beanty-if regular features, Spanish eyes, rose-tinged cheeks, raven hair, and an expression intellectual and inexpressibly alluring, can constitute beauty. Considine, seeing that she appeared to understand him, addressed himself to her, but got a quick answer in mellow Gaelic. servant spoke to some of the shilelagh-wielders, and I to others, and there was a reluctant quietness.
“ Orro, now fat need ye spile the good sport,” said one of the peasants, laughing; sure we moight have a friendly bit of play in pace." But they were stilled, and we roved down towards the boat. Then I discovered, just as we were going to push off, that Considine was no where to be seen. Running back, I met him as he was shaking hands with one of our opponents in the skirmish.
We sailed merrily down to Galway, whose twinkling lights and the murmur of whose river were welcome to me, for it was getting chilly. Having separated from the others, we turned homewards, when we became aware of a pair of students who were just at their own door. One had the reputation of being extremely grave and decorous, but, at present he was making earnest endeavours to break a lamp. He would not go indoors before he had accomplished the feat. It touched his
honour. That lamp seemed arrogant. So matters stood for half an hour ; he, with great decision, but little precision, continuing his vain efforts. At last, his friend being of an obliging temper, broke the lamp, and both retired with calm demeanour. Iunderstand the corpore ation received compensation from an anonymous band, next day, Some malicious tongues attributed the whole affair to us, but 'twas false, 'twas false!
After that, the tenor of Considine's studies varied. He led me to converse about Irish, and instantly discovered its many beauties. Steadily he began to learn it; but, though I showed him how much more suitable it would be for bim to attack at once the ancient forms, as the medical works were in that style, yet he proved most satisfactorily, that one should rather learn the popular idioms at first. His mind, too, as summer advanced, became more and more attracted to geology and botany. So much so, that he would delegate to me tbs task of taking ward over the “legacy,” as Elizabetba was irreverently termed, whilst be made scientific escursions among the magnificent mountains of Conde
His Irish studies suddenly relaxed; his botanical ardour increased.
“Be ready to-morrow,” said he, after a month of this conduct,“ obtain a deputy to watch over the legacy, and come along with me. One of the rarest and most magnificent plants, I have discovered; I know its habitat, but an assistant must accompany me."
• You are losing your philosophic tone entirely, my friend, but I, being your junior, shall obey."
Next day we left the city, and, under his guidance took a car, which conveyed passengers to Leenane, through the grandest of mountain scenery. There we slept for the night, and next morning, arose to go forth; my friend exacting a wonderful amount of neatness in attire, considering that we were to seek the habitat of a plant, probably among the mountains.
“Not so ; 'tis on the top of no mountains. Besides, philosophy should teach you that, to be neatly dressed in cities, is a thing forced upon you, but bere, it is a gratuitous and chivalric act. Why should we pot do equal homage to nature's grandeur as to man's ?"
I did not much object to his moralizing when I came upon the beautiful Killery bay, whither he conducted me. Taking a boat, we crossed its blue expanse, orershadowed by magnificent mountains, moulded with nature's most picturesque touch. We leaped on shore.
“Ah!” said I, now I agree with your oft-expressed opinions, that it is the duty of a man who has entered upon the path of science, to devote himself wholly to it, in order that, increasing in knowledge above his age, hc may elevate them one step bigher, and"
“What a magnificent view is this! How happily, that white cottage shines out through its cluster of sheltering trees!"
“Very fair. But, after all, what are they worth? They induce people here to live on the low level of content, dull their nobler aspirations, and, indeed, brutalize the mind, as you were saying”
“I! I was saying nothing of the kind. Come,
never mind that style of thing. Our road lies past that cottage."
“Of conrse, you have not been saying it just now, but often have you impressed this high wisdom on me, and how a really scientific man, ought never to think of the time-wasting stupidities called love or marriage.”
Hallo, Considine, here you are! So this is your best man. Bravo, you're in good time. Hope you're pretty well, sir. Come in."
What a hospitable way these Connemara gentlemen bave, to be sure. This was the salutation we received from the owner of the handsome cottage. And guests seemned to be an every-day occurrence here, for cars are about in great plenty. How was I Considine's best man ? 0, of course, it related to my college honoursprecisely so. On stepping in, there were most cordial welcomings, and amid the bustle of gentlemen, and ladies all in white, I knew nothing more till, standing by Considine's side, I heard the words :
“Dost thou take this woman to be thy wedded wife ?”
Ah, now 'twas clear, we arrived just as a marriage was about to be celebrated, but why had Considine not told me he was invited ?
" I do."
What ! that's certainly his voice. He does ! O, indeed, he did—be took her to be his wedded wife, after all his scientific loves, the shockingly inconsistent man ! Where were his theories beautiful ? Echo
“ fool!” 'Tis very candid of echo; but why put me into it ? though one of the bridesmaids—well
, no matter. The wedded wife? Why who could it be, but the exceedingly handsome Spanish-eyed maiden, who happened for a moment to look into the tent in Menlo through curiosity. Of course, she knew English, but wished to have no conversation with strange students, philosophic or not. And Elizabetha ? Well, that's a sore subject. When I returned, I learned that my deputy had taken to the task with so much assiduity, that she was fairly tormented out of her life. She died in private, but sent up her heart to the medical school, with a message, “ The crayters ! sure, I couldn't disappoint thim, after all.” On first examination, the heart was perfectly sound; on second, it was the heart of a calf; inquiries were immediately instituted, and it was discovered that "she had left £10 to her friends on condition that she should be buried in the bay, beneath the cliffs of Moher.” So, what could we do? I was taking a solitary row on the same bay one evening, when a large country boat, well-manned, went quickly past. As it did so, I saw a menacing hand shaken at me, and heard a rapid voice : “Ha! you won't, you won't ! He's one o' thim”-and all eyes were turned upon me, and I heard laughter dying away in the distance. Could it have been Elizabetha ?
Happiest-hearted and light of thought,
In rolling yellow and purple wrought; Came my sole sister, my own sweet Alice,
Whom West adores for her Grecian head; Came in and said, in a side-long whisper,
“ Frank, poor Caroline Gray is dead !' “ Dead and gone,” said my sister Alice,
“ Summer and Autumn she wasted through ; And her broken life was a gentle idyl
Of passionate hopes and prayers for you. Ah, God receive her ; you did not love her;
Now, you will love her, she is so far, Sitting to-night with the stainless angels,
Beyond the light of the evening star." Sadder and sadder the harvest twilight
Sank on the walnuts; and ledge on ledge Of fiery sunset, ribbed with vapour,
Heavily glared through the wind-tossed hedge. No feast was spread, and no lamp was lighted;
With wet face buried upon my bed, I prayed but one wild prayer—“God forgive me,”
I knew but one great grief-she was dead ! I know the little room where she's lying,
White and chilly, with clasped hands :
Her raiment folded in snowy bands.
And o'er her eyelids, fringed and frore,
Braided in beauty for evermore.
Pressing my mouth to her hueless cheek, I swear it, her tender face would brighten,
I madly dream she would rise and speak! Speak! what could she but earned reproaches ?
Back from the mourners, I slowly partBackward to sit, on the rainy threshold,
With the long-slain passion that fills my heart. I would not choose that the best and dearest
Of dead companions should come to me,
My heart and its coarse idolatry;
Thy funeral robes around thy feet,
Were pardon a hundred fold more sweet. For thou would'st know me—the crooked meanness
That finds disguise in my daily life, The shifts that pass for a nobler nature,
The carrion quarrels that some call strife :
The mask would fall and the veil te riveu
In the light of thy keen intelligence; Rest, dumb and pallid. I dare not meet thee.
God's angels are fooled by no pretence!
What can I tell that thou know'st not ?
All founts of knowledge abound for thee : This Life is a gate of imprisoned secrets,
And Death has given the golden key. The babe that diez on its mother's bosom,
The beggar, stiff-white, in the parish cot, Have larger vision and keener wisdom
Than all the science of earth has wrought. We loved, we quarrelled--we met no longer
In pleasant places. I hated you— Hated, you for your saint-like beauty ;
Hated because I knew you true. But, dead! All the old, sweet, gracions instincts
That cling around you, begin to crave Within my heart, and my heart throws upward
A daisied passion about your grave. 0, white face, turn unto mine in pity,
0, sweet eyes, open once more to mine ; Dear love, look out, ere we part for ever,
O'er a tearless grief that is half divine. She goes, and the ghostly room is vacant,
Her maiden coffin is borne aloof; Angels of God, lean over the Heavens,
And rain white lilies upon the roof !
hurried repast, at four in the afternoon; and was only just returned, drenched and wearied, from his day's labour. However, go he must, and so he bade old Betty, his housekeeper, tell the person who had
brought the call” that he would be with her in a few moments.
Hastily changing such portions of his dress as were thoroughly saturated, despite the protection afforded by his ample umbrella, and drawing on a pair of substantial over-alls—none of your dandy Knickerbockers of latter days, but a pair in which Rip Van Winkle himself might have taken pride on such a night-he donned once more his frieze surtout, put on his felt beaver, glossy with rain, and descended, candle in hand, to the hall.
As he approached the foot of the staircase, the light fell on the features of a female who stood awaiting him in the passage, and never, even in the appalling times that were, did light reveal a more woe-begone counte
The woman might be about fifty, though she looked much older. She had evidently been once handsome, nor had suffering or poverty yet quite effaced the marked traits of her former appearance.
But the es pression her features wore! It was absolutely heartrending. Whether grief, however, or terror, or despair was in the ascendant, it was difficult at first sight to determine. Of hope, not a single ray was perceptible, though the appearance of the clergyman evidently caused the poor creature much joy.
“Oh, thank God ! I found you at home, sir," was her first exclamation on seeing him.
" Where is the call, my poor woman ?” asked the priest, as he laid aside his candle, and commenced wrapping his comforter" the product of Betty's knitting needles round his neck.
lane, sir," she answered tremulously. " What?"
“Oh, don't blame me, your reverence; 'tisn't my fault !” sobbed the poor creature.
“But why did you not get her removed from that infamous locality the moment she took ill? Why not send at once for the hospital porters ?” asked the clergyman, as he closed the door after him, and set out with his guide.
“ 'Tis not a woman at all, sir. 'Tis my son that's dying. He took the sickness—the Lord save us! the minute he came to town this evening; and I'm afeard 'tis all over with him. Oh, father, God grant you'll overtake him !”
As they proceeded along, at a rapid pace, splashing through pools of water at every step-the clergyman, who was not a little surprised at getting a sick call from such a locality—one into which none but the police or the lawless ever entered—learned such particulars from his companion as he deemed requisite to prepare him for the nature of the case he was about encountering
Twenty years before that night, the poor woman, who now trudged bare-footed beside him was one of the happiest and most comfortable farmer's wives within
THE “ SUDDEN CALL”—
BEING A TRUTHFUL REMINISCENCE OF THE PAST.
“ Son--As birds do, mother.
"Son.—Why should I, mother? Poor birds they are not
MACBETH, ACT IV., SCENE II, It is now a good many years-well nigh thirty-since a clergyman, who is at present a venerable parish priest in a rural district, was suddenly summoned to attend an urgent “ sick call” in a certain well-known city of the south-west, which, for obvious reasons, shall be at present nameless. He was then a young and active curate. But young and active as he was, his strength was well nigh exhausted from almost incessant attendance on the sick and dying; for the “first cholera” was raging in the city, and, on that very day, he had already visited some threescore patients in the district confided, during the prevalence of the epidemic, to his immediate charge.
It was past eleven o'clock, and the night one of the wettest of the season. He had been on his feet, from house to house, and hospital to hospital, ever since his
sight of Knockfierna. Her husband, Adam Pfeiffer, oras his neighbours phonographically wrote it--Fifer, was what was designated in the locality “a strong Palintine farmer." Like his brother Palatines, he was, in religious matters, a Dissenter ; but always lived on terms of most intimate friendship with his Catholic neighbourz. With the religion of his wife, who was a Catholic, he never interfered ; and not only that, but he, furthermore, permitted his two children, a son and daughter, to be baptized and brought up in the faith of their mother. Indeed, it was only on this express condition that old Davy Hartigan consented to give him his daughter in marriage, with “a fortune" of five hundred bank notes-Irish currency-paid down on the nail,” the moment the wedding ceremony was performed. For, " though Adam Pfeiffer was a thriving man,” and had a
snug spot of ground,” and the colleen liked him well enough, “ still an' all,” said old Davy, “no grandchild of mine 'll ever be raired a Palintin"-and, as long as he lived, old Davy kept his word, Adam not objecting.
Such conduct, however, did not escape the notice or animadversion of some of the folk at the “great house.” They openly denounced Pfeiffer's backsliding, and threatened to have him “ read out of meeting," if he persisted in such ungodliness. But Adam only snapped his fingers at their threats, and said that as long as he paid his rent and tithes, he “didn't care a button for Squire Barker, or any one else, if it went to that of it." He had his lease, and was able to meet either agent or proctor on gale day, and so gave himself very little trouble about the wrath enkindled against him at Barkerville.
To give the squire himself his due, he did not personally care one fig what religion any man was of, or if he was of any at all. This liberal (?) sentiment he frequently expressed, even in presence of his guests, at Barkerville. His notion of orthodoxy was limited to simply hating the Pope, which he did con amore, tho' utterly ignorant even of the name of the reigning Pontiff whom he thus conscientiously detested! His external profession of Protestantism, according to his peculiar notions of it, was of an equally limited character-bis attendance at church being restricted to gunpowder-day and a few similar holidays. As for Sunday, it was post-day; and he had quite enough to do in getting through the weekly papers, without the additional trouble of listening to the hebdomidal homily. We do not at all-be it strictly understood coincide with the worthy squire's theoretical or practical notions on this point. We merely describe him as we knew him a jovial, careless, twelve-tumbler foxhunter. Nor did he mean the least possible offence to any man living, when, in his official capacity, as President of the Schomberg Lodge, he drank “to hwith the Pope," on the glorious anniversary of the crossing of the Boyne water.
But with the ladies of Barkerville it was quite otherwise. They were not twelve-tambler people; but what they lacked in caloric, they made up in bile. They had
souls to save, they said, and therefore it was that they 50 yearned after the conversion of hapless Adan Pfeiffer's Popish wife and her pagan offspring! Nay, they asserted that, like unto female Davids, they would even smite hip and thigh, if necessary, that whole Philistine family, rather than have its progeny brought up in idolatry. But the phial of their wrath was concentrated for special outpouring on the head of the Jezabel of the family, as they were pleased to scripturally designato Mrs. Pfeiffer.
That good woman, however, seemed not in the slightest degree affected by this excess of zeal on her behalf. Less excitable and demonstrative than her husband, she held her peace, and quietly followed in the way her fathers had walked for ages before her. Her household was the thriftiest, and her dairy the neatest and most productive in the parish, and no one cver left her door empty-handed who came to solicit an alms in God's name. These were happy days for poor Margaret Pfeiffer. God seemed to bless and prosper her, and she was grateful and thankful for His favours. But as even the simple and good are sometimes further proved, like "gold in the furnace,” so was it with her. On a dark night, towards the close of autumn, the bleeding form of her husband was brought to her door by some neighbours, who had found him lying senseless on the high road, not far from his own avenue. In a dike beside him lay the horse and car, with which he had set out that morning to market, the car broken to fragments, and the horse quite dead. The animal, which was a spirited one, had taken fright in passing a forge, and continued to dash on at a furious pace till, at a turn of the road, the car was upset, and its owner flung senseless and blecding from it. The poor man only survived to exculpate all parties from any blame in the transaction, and make his solemn profession of faith in the religion of his wife, to which, he assured his own brother and the clergyman who received him, he had been secretly but sincerely attached, ever since he married, and fractically knew what good Catholics really were.
From that sad day the poor widow's trials may be dated. With her husband's death, her tenure of the farm legally ended ; and, though the old squire was unwilling to disturb so peaceful a tenant, the ladies prevailed, and notice to quit' was forthwith served upon her, in due form, by Switzer, the bailiff. Had her father lived, she would have had a comfortable home to return to, but te had been dead for some years past, and, on his demise, her only surviving brother disposed of his interest in the paternal farm, and emigrated, with his family, to America. Thus was she left alone with her orphan children to struggle with poverty, or become rich, as we shall see, on terms at which her conscience recoiled.
The formidable "notice to quit," was, however, but a “pious fraud,” intended for her good by the charitable ladies of Barkerville. It was, in fact, only a means to an end most desirable to them of attainment--to wit, the conversion of Mrs. Pfeiffer and her children. The day after the formal service of that document—so often the